5 Lord Of The Rings Locations NO Fan Can Afford To Miss

With the release of The Hobbit and the mind-boggling profits it earned, one thing became very clear – no matter how long the wait, the love for the LOTR franchise is still there. Even though we fans had to wait for almost forever for the latest movie to release, if anything at all, the long suppressed love for the series has only intensified and we all know the wait for the next release is going to be a long one. And well, apparently, there’s not much you can do in the meantime apart from re-read the books, rerun the movie marathon, or just curl up into a ball and wait for time to fly by, or maybe not.

The Lord of The Rings trilogy has so much more to offer than just excellent fodder of modern fantasy. For one, think about the breathtakingly and magically amazing locations. Every shot, every frame is a sight to behold. It makes you reach out your hand to the screen, hoping, just hoping that it’ll take you closer to the place. But what if I told you that you can do much more than just stretching your hand out to the screen, with your eyeballs popping out so much they threaten to fall out and bounce halfway around the world? Yes. All you need to do is take off to New Zealand. To make matters easier, I’ve listed down 5 locations no LOTR fan can ever afford to miss.

1)   Mata-Mata

FRANZ JOSEF

What better way to start the journey than from the Shire itself. After all, this is where it all began. A three hour drive from Auckland, as the suburban landscape gives way to lush green pastures and rolling hills, you finally begin to feel that you’re really here- right into Hobbiton. While you’re at it, you can also walk through the gigantic caves of Waikato and just gawk at the histrionic stalactites and stalagmites, and the magical sparkle of gazillions of glow worms. You’re journey has just started to get magical.

2)   The Putangirua Pinnacles

Putangirua Pinnacles overview4

Remember the scene from The Return of The King, where Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas walked the roads of the dead to wake the army of the dead? The pinnacles were where this scene was set, and even though the scene may have been forgotten by many, you should just not forget to visit this place. The Putangirua Pinnacles is a small national park made up of a series of weirdly shaped rock pinnacles. Try to visit this place in the rains- it’s beautiful in a very eerie, foreboding way. It is easy to understand why Mr. Jackson chose this place to be his “Paths of The Dead”; you can almost feel every step of the way being haunted by spirits of a time long forgotten. The feeling is hauntingly mesmerizing.

3)   Mangawhero River

Raukawa Falls

This is the place where the One Ring was found by a Stoor Hobbit. This is the place where the journey of Sméagol to Gollum began. This is also the place from where Frodo, Sam and Gollum see the gates of Mordor. And as grim as the significance of the place may be, its beauty is something else altogether.

4)   Tongariro National Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one can most definitely walk into the Tongariro National Park, which was used as the main setting for Mordor. The one place you have to, HAVE TO visit is Mount Ngaurhoe, aka Mount Doom. Yes, the very place the One Ring was forged and the only place where it could be destroyed. The prominently conical 2000 year old mountain is essentially a ginormous knoll of ash, making the real view just as spectacular as the one in the movie, even without the special effects; a perfect icing on the cake. As a matter of fact, if there was only one place you were allowed to visit in New Zealand, this should be that place.

5)   Kawarau River

“As Frodo was borne towards them, the great pillars rose like towers to meet him. Giants they seemed to him, vast grey figures silent but threatening”. This is what the description of the Pillars of the Kings read like. The scene in the movie is absolutely breathtaking, the two pillars don’t fail to mesmerize. While in reality the pillars won’t be there, the view is still beautiful and needs no graphical enhancement whatsoever.

Jeff Miller is a big fan of LOTR series and is a travel blogger for Optima Villas Lanzarote.